I want you to try something for me next time you’re alone.
Stand up and hold a book at waist height and read it out loud. Listen to what happens to your voice. When you lower your head your voice gets squashed and vocal variety is reduced. It’s also harder for people to hear as you cannot project your voice as well. We also tend to fall into a ‘reading rhythm’ which can have the same effect as swinging a pendulum in front of the audience – “You are getting sleepy…”
Here are four ways to deliver your presentation – but only one of them will increase your persuasion quotient.
1. Read your speech
When we get into speech writing we tend to fall into report mode. The language and the tone becomes more formal and doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily.
On top of this, we lose all the things that make a presentation engaging: eye-contact, gestures and vocal variety.
2. Memorise your speech
We’ve all seen someone who as delivered a memorised speech. They stand as if super-glued to the spot, beads of sweat break out on their brow as they desperately try not to lose their way and they stare over your head, fearful that if they look anyone in the eye their brain will turn to mush.
Memorising a speech to the point where you can deliver a natural sounding presentation is possible and that involves good speech writing skills – but do you really have the time for that?
3. Wing it!
Those of us that love to stand up and speak often fall into this trap. We know the topic, we know the audience, why do we need to prepare?
The challenge here is that we can talk too much, go off on wild tangents and before you know it 30 minutes have passed and we have not even touched on the first main point we wanted to talk about! Even if you know the topic well, a few notes with an introduction, some headings for the main body of the presentation and some thoughts about how you would like to conclude will be enough to keep you on task and on time.
4. Have a prepared plan
Hmmm… a prepared plan I hear you ask, what’s that?
A prepared plan shows great speech writing and provides you with the structure to stay on task and on time. Your presentation is not written out word-for-word, so you can deliver it in a conversational tone. Your notes are in large font, so it’s easy to see where you’re at if you forget the next point. Most importantly, you can focus on the stories and delivering your message with passion to ensure you are engaging and persuasive. I’ll share more tips and tricks on delivering a prepared plan next month.